‘Stilleven’ is the Dutch word for a still life painting consisting of selected objects, usually sitting on a flat surface, and treated as a worthy subject in it’s own right, as opposed to being part of a narrative work.
My paintings don’t tell a story. They might, however, tell the viewer about an object - what it looks like, it’s scale, texture, what it is made of and what it is used for. Or they can make someone see an every day familiar object as if for the first time - set apart, or in combination with another, in a silent conversation. A cut cauliflower fills the frame, two pears nestle together, a shell is adorned with a shiny ribbon.
My subject matter is the domestic. Calm contemplation, quiet moments of observation, the play of light and the depth of a shadow. No great drama but each element - be it a ceramic tile, a vase, a silver jug, fruit, vegetable or flower - is for a fleeting moment centre stage.
I often revisit the same subjects or work on variations of a theme.
The landscape paintings are a recent development and are usually more like a cloud or sky scape. They have a very similar feel to the interior/still life paintings in that they don’t tend to have dramatic focal points - they are simply the kind of view that can be seen anywhere at anytime, common place, everyday. But if you were to sit and look at that landscape you would find beauty and calm within it. Just as I am influenced by Dutch still life paintings I am also drawn to Dutch landscapes (such as Vermeer’s View of Delft, or Jacob van Ruisdael’s View of Amsterdam where the sky is the dominant element), or street scenes where the painter captures a moment in time before the light changes or the figures move out of sight. ‘Towards Knaresborough’ and ‘Paris Rooftops - Evening’ are examples of these influences
I spend many hours building up the layers of paint to produce a realistic but not photographic image. I use photography to establish the composition and as a reference throughout the painting process. It is also a vital tool for recording a set-up where the elements within it are perishable, such as fruit and flowers, and to maintain the light source .
I use oil paint, linseed oil and oil mediums to slow down or accelerate the drying of the paint or increase it’s workability and allow for fine detail. I use glazes towards the end of the process to fine tune shadows and add depth of colour. It is a slow process and the drying time between layers is essential. I usually work on three or four paintings at a time.